Care for orphans and children separated from their parents

Huynh et al. (2019) performed a study in low- and middle-income countries to evaluate
different settings for the care of orphans and children separated from their parents. The
question Huynh et al. (2019) hoped to answer was whether the well-being of an orphan is
dependent on the quality of care provided or the setting in which the care is provided.
Negative outcomes associated with being an orphan, highlighted by this study include
compromised cognitive and emotional development, less access to education and a higher
probability of exploitation. The outcomes are associated with emotionless institutional care
provided by inadequately paid staff with no investment in the children.
The study by Huynh et al. (2019) mentioned that the best option for the care of orphaned
and separated children would be with extended family or in community-based setting. The
study also showed that once the basic needs of the children are met, they can thrive. These
basic needs are 1. food security. Constant supply of nutritious food without the need to beg
or scavenge. 2. Stable shelter. 3. An adult caregiver that provides a stable nurturing
environment, and 4. healthcare.
After researching what maybe the major factors for the well-being of children it is easier to
understand what Ireland (2017) means in the statement posted above. The term “AIDS
Orphan Tourism” used by Ireland (2017) is the commercialized term used to attract aid
and assistance from organizations and individual outside the country. These visits are short
lived and may cause children to be attached to the volunteers who then leave and return to
their country. The children have already been abandoned once, and now again by the
volunteers worsening the emotional blow of already being separated from parents and life
in an orphanage.
Ireland (2017) points out that the mere presence of an orphanage may encourage parents
going through hardship to abandon their child(ren) there in the hopes of a better life. This
may seem like a viable option but from what I have read above, it is devastating to a child.
The only situation that I can think of where an orphanage would be appropriate would be
in a situation of a war-torn country where there are child victims of war that are in dire
need of care, otherwise children should be place in a setting that I as close to home as
Although there is no ideal situation for abandoned children, I would encourage the
Department or Ministry of Health to formulate a system of attempting to place abandoned
children with family members first rather than in an orphanage. In lieu of an orphanage I
would advise them to create a system of support for families in poverty to have a means to
basic needs of food, shelter etc., that would allow the family to thrive.

Huynh, H. V., Limber, S. P., Gray, C. L., Thompson, M. P., Wasonga, A. I., Vann, V.,
Itemba, D., Eticha, M., Madan, I., & Whetten, K. (2019). Factors affecting the psychosocial
well-being of orphan and separated children in five low- and middle-income countries:
Which is more important, quality of care or care setting?. PloS one, 14(6), e0218100.


Indeed, institutional care for orphans and children separated from their parents or guardians is
associated with several shortcomings that range from hindrances to their emotional and cognitive
development to limited education and increased susceptibility to exploitation. I concur with
Lima’s sentiments and the findings from the study that such hindrances emanate from the
detached and emotionless care provided within orphanages as the staff are inadequately
compensated and lack any attachment or investment to the children (Huynh et al. 2019). Akin to
Lima’s point of view, the suitable option for such children would entail the identification and
placement with extended family members or in settings within the community. However, the
inevitable circumstances under which orphans or children separated from their parents should be
placed in institutional care include war-torn situations within a country that victimize children
and expose them to dangerous conditions. As such, the government within a nation, through the
relevant Ministry/Department of Health, should optimize the welfare of these children by putting
in place stringent measures in which children should be placed in institutional care and
orphanages (Huynh et al. 2019). If orphanages exist within a community or throughout the
country, the relevant government bodies should adhere to a system that fosters the well-being of
low-income families by enabling them to access the basic needs. Before reverting to such

measures, due process should be applied in placing the children with extended family members
instead of orphanages.


Huynh, H. V., Limber, S. P., Gray, C. L., Thompson, M. P., Wasonga, A. I., Vann, V.,
Itemba, D., Eticha, M., Madan, I., & Whetten, K. (2019). Factors affecting the
psychosocial well-being of orphan and separated children in five low- and middle-
income countries: Which is more important, quality of care or care setting? PLOS
ONE, 14(6), e0218100.

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